Texas Travel Diary - p 2
The brackish waters of Packery Channel, just east of Corpus
Christi, are a magnet for wading birds and shore birds, not to mention human
fishers in campers and big trucks. All seek the fish and other marine
life there. In late afternoon we find the white morph of the Reddish
Egret. The white version is either common here or we're seeing the same
bird over and over, because this is our second sighting.
Unlike most herons and egrets, who wait quietly in ambush,
Reddish Egret darts about helter-skelter, as if it has no idea what it's doing.
This, however, apparently scares up small fish on which it feeds.
now the sun is setting. Even as the egret flies away, we find
another fisher, this one a Tricolored Heron, who snares a nice fish for supper.
fishers usually have a Brown Pelican or two as a companion. Even in his
breeding plumage, he's still a rather coarse looking bird, one of those who
looks better in flight or at a distance than close up.
Another long-distance migrant, Black-bellied Plover, nails a worm of sorts near the shore. He (she?) will
need all the nourishment he can find. His travel plans includes a flight across
the entire North American continent, to the Arctic coast of Alaska and Canada
where these plovers breed.
Dawn finds us back at Packery, on this day still seeing new
birds mucking about under an overcast sky. Using the car as a blind, we
photograph more egrets and herons and American Oystercatcher and this
Marbled Godwit. In earlier times this bird was far more abundant than
today. Dr. Thomas S. Roberts wrote in 1919: "When the writer [went
to western Minnesota] in June 1879 to study the wildlife of that region, the
great marbled godwit was so abundant, so constant and insistent in its
attentions to the traveler on the prairie, and so noisy that it became at times
an actual nuisance." (A. C. Bent, Life Histories of North American Shore Birds).